When Yong Qing Liu–winner of a Best Design award in Taiwan’s 2014 Golden Pin Design Award, designer of Chinese Fonts Test, and General Manager of Huathink–speaks about font design, he notes that he humbly thinks of himself a “designer who is just passionate about calligraphy.” As Liu sees it, re-designing Chinese characters is not just a matter of personal interest, it also bears witness to the evolution of the modern huaren way of thinking.
Liu believes that if we were to select a cultural element that best exemplifies the huaren culture, it would undoubtedly be Chinese characters. “Ancient people once said, ‘Living is better than anything.’ I find this quote to be quintessential of the Chinese spirit,” he remarks. “I’ve practiced calligraphy for many years and I’m most fond of Yan Zheng Qing’s regular script style. Yan’s brush strokes are rounded and vigorous, almost bursting with grandeur; the skeletons and structures of his script are powerful and firm. His calligraphy is harmonious in appearance while forcefully resilient within. He truly exemplifies the persevering and unremitting Chinese spirit.”
Chinese characters are the nucleus within the core of huaren culture and one of the cultural origins of the Chinese people. Chinese characters sustain a civilization that has spanned millennia; their evolution is like a reproduction of the changes that Chinese people have endured. From ancient pictograms to mature traditional and then simplified Chinese characters, the evolution of characters has always closely followed in the footsteps of the social transformations and changing perspectives of different eras. Liu discusses his opinion on the transformation of Chinese characters: “Every transformation that Chinese characters undergo possesses a meaning exclusive to that era and is only applicable to the people and society of that time. Huaren of every era express their present demands with ways of thinking that are unique to that time. This is why I believe that the evolution of Chinese characters is the most direct embodiment of this line of thought.”
When creating huaren design, Liu thinks it is essential to first understand what contemporary huaren are thinking about; that is to say that creating huaren design is a methodology for comprehending a huaren way of thinking. Liu wishes to interpret the contemporary way of huaren thinking through the design of Chinese fonts.
“Westerners are rational while Easterners are sentimental,” Liu explains. “For example, when the term ‘Jinghu Expressway’ is mentioned, everyone [in China] knows the term refers to the expressway that connects Beijing to Shanghai. However, the administrative division thought that infrastructure needed to be managed in a standardized way and so they gave the expressway a serial number instead–the ‘G2’. All of a sudden, people became confused and didn’t know which route to take or where the ‘G2’ led. The truth is that this kind of design and regulation did not take the huaren way of thinking into consideration. ‘Jinghu’ was a clear and easy to remember term, and while a serial number might be simple and manageable, it goes against the habitual Chinese way of thinking and cognition. The result is that the administrative division has an easier time in terms of managing the road system, but it comes at the expense of the people on the road. Perhaps the key to our design lies in understanding and researching the habitual huaren way of thinking. To create huaren design is to design products that are humanized, localized, and adapted to the huaren way of thinking.”
About Yong Qing Liu
Yong Qing Liu is truly one of the core forces amongst third-generation designers in China. Liu is the Deputy Secretary General of the Shenzhen Graphic Designer Association, a commissioned designer of Font5, founder of brand design firm Huathink, and chairman of Shenzhen Huali Cultural Industry. Liu has collaborated with over 300 companies, 48 of which are publicly listed, providing them with brand image integration design services. Liu’s works have won him various national and international awards.
His accolades–over 200 awards–include Best of Golden Pin Design Award 2014, 2013 HKDA Global Design Award, nomination for the 2013 Tokyo Type Director’s Club Annual Award, Best Graphic Design Award of the 2012 China Design Exhibition, various Silver Awards of the 2011 HKDA Global Design Awards, Best Award and Jury Award of the GDC (Graphic Design in China) Awards, Grand Prix Award, Outstanding Design Award along with two other awards of IDE International Brand Image Design Competition and Gold Award of Brand Design in China, among other honors. In 2013, Liu was selected as one of Top Ten Creative People in the 9th Annual Creative December in China.